Immigrant work visas (E-1 & E-2) 101

Immigrant work visas (E-1 & E-2) 101

Many individuals abroad have considered working in the US, either in the short or long term. However, the United States government does not provide “a work permit” or “worker visa” to just anyone.

The only way a foreign national has the ability to work within the boundaries of the United States is to qualify for a specific visa that provides him or her with authorization to work in the United States.  Not all of the 20 different types of non-immigrant visas comes with work authorization.  And even those visas that do allow for work authorization come with strict limitations, and strict penalties for violating any subscribed limitations.

Working in the United States

For individuals wishing to work in the United States, there are two specific visas that may allow temporary migration to the United States. Through commercial treaties with numerous countries around the globe, the US provides both an E-1 and E- 2 visa, available specifically to those who are employed for a trading business who does trade between a treaty company and the United States or invests and manages such a company.

To be eligible for an E-visa, the employing business or investment must provide significant trade between the individual’s country of nationality and the US. A Treaty Trader E-1 Visa is available for those are employed in a high ranking position for a international trade company. The other option is a Treaty Investors E-2 Visa for individuals who will invest in a business in the United States and maintain control over the investment in the United States.

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A quick comparison of the two includes:

  • Treaty Trader E-1 Visa – An individual holding this particular type of visa is required to hold a controlling position in a company that produces substantial trade between their own national country and the United States. However, there is no specific minimum requirement of investment by the invidual other than to produce adequate income to maintain the financial needs of the individual and his or her immediate family, also residing in the Untied States.
  • Treaty Investor E-2 Visa – This type of visa is specifically founded on investments. Any individual that is investing a significant amount of financial capital can apply for a treaty investor visa. This may allow him or her to come to the United States to develop the specific operations necessary to create and manage the enterprise involved in the investment.

Both types of visas allow the individual to arrive and remain within the borders of the United States for an indeterminate amount of time. However, it must be their intention to depart the United States once the status of their E-1 or E-2 has terminated or expired.

An experienced employment visa attorney can assist foreign nationals who are seeking visas to work for treaty companies in a variety of capacities including as a supervisor, manager or executive. Additionally, a visa could also be obtained by foreign nationals that have specific qualifications that are crucial to the daily operation of an invested enterprise within the United States. The immigration laws also allow a spouse of an individual holding an E-1 or E-2 Investors/Treaty Visa to apply for permission to work within the United States.

There are also other types of employment visas available that include:

  • H Visa – Issued to professional workers in temporary situations
  • L Visa – Issued to transferees within a company
  • O Visa – Issued to individuals that are recognized as having international or national acclaim
  • P Visa – Issued to entertainers, artists and athletes
  • R Visa – Issued to members of religious orders including ministers, religious workers and clergy

The employment visa laws within the United States are extremely complex. If you have questions or concerns about the processes and procedures listed here, please contact us today to setup an initial consultation.